Mumbai, May 11: Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party chief Raosaheb Danve on Thursday apologised for his controversial against farmers. The BJP leader said that he can never abuse farmers. “I apologise if I have hurt farmers’ sentiments. I never used derogatory words for farmers. I can never abuse farmer. I have worked for farmers for 35 years,” Danve said.

Danve stirred a controversy when he said farmers continue to complain despite the state government doling out sops to bail out tur growers. “The state government has so far procured the highest amount of tur in the history and it is going to purchase additional 1 lakh tonne; still some (referring to farmers) continue to complain,” Danve had said.

“…ajoon ek lakh tonne tur kharedi karnaar aahe taree radtaat (We are going to procure 1 lakh tonne of tur but still they are crying),” he had said in a reply to a question raised by a BJP worker in Jalna in Marathwada.

In 2016, the Centre had undertaken a massive programme to increase production of tur in Maharashtra. The state saw record production of the cereal due to good monsoon. However, the glut led to fall in prices of tur, adversely affecting cultivators. A delay in opening procurement centres further worsened farmers’ condition.

A few days ago, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had admitted gross mismanagement in tur procurement.

The opposition Congress and ally Shiv Sena hit out at the BJP leader for his remarks. Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan said farmers will teach the ruling BJP a lesson for its “arrogance of power”.

“Farmers will teach these people a lesson,” Chavan said.

BJP ally Shiv Sena slammed Danve for seeking a guarantee from Opposition that loan waiver will stop suicides by farmers. “Danve made the comments while he was on a trip to Shirdi. This shows how much reverence he has for farmers. Loan waiver is not a permanent solution but it is an immediate help that should be given to ensure that farmers live,” Sena said in its mouthpiece Saamana.

With inputs from PTI